Proposed features/Highway overhaul

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Major overhaul of highway tag
Status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: bengibollen
Tagging: *=*
Applies to: ways
Definition: *
Rendered as: *
Drafted on: 2008-11-29
RFC start: *
Vote start: *
Vote end: *


The highway tag is a mess and should/could be sanitized.

  1. The name, highway, for this tag is not really representing what it can be. In most countries a cycle way or path is not a highway. From wikipedia we can read: "A highway is a main road intended for travel by the public between important destinations, such as cities and towns."
  2. It has a mes of different types of values that are not really in the same category. It can mean a type of road. Like track or motorway. It can also mean a class, like trunk or primary. That is, some highway values could apply on the same road (a trunk road that is constructed as a motorway).


I propose a clean up of the tag highway. Following is an example of how this could be done:

  • Change the main tag to something else. Like road=*. The name should be general and easy to understand as "a physical feature on land where you travel in some manner"
  • This tag should have values like:
    • highway - as wiki definition
    • street/road - This could include service roads, residential roads, urban streets
    • track - "unmaintained road" more or less self sustaining, probably a subset of road (type/surface?)
    • path - a road (mainly) for unmotorised vehicles and pedestrians
    • trail - like track, probably a subset of path (type/surface?)
    • construction
  • Highway reference number and class(trunk, primary...) are applied to a relation.
  • The type and/or standard of the road should have some kind of tagging scheme. Like motorway, 4-lane road, single lane road, 2+1 road (2 lanes + 1 lane, with barrier), cycleway, track etc, residential. Discuss.




  • road=highway
  • road=street
  • road=path
  • road=construction
  • road=sport (or something, for racing tracks etc.)

subsets of road:

  • type=residential
  • type=cycleway
  • type=motorway
  • type=link?
  • standard=motorway?
  • type=?
  • lanes=*
  • surface=
  • name=*


  • class=trunk (a nations most important highways, will most probably be the first to be upgraded to motorway or some least standard defined by the government if they not already are so, gets the most money for maintenance and development)
  • class=primary
  • class=secondary
  • class=tertiary
  • ref=*
  • name=*





Please add your comments on the discussion page.